March 2, 1983: Combined Altitude Radar Altimeter Begins Testing

  • Published
  • Air Force Flight Test Center

The F-16 Combined Test Force conducted the first flight of the APN-232 Combined Altitude Radar Altimeter (CARA) system. The CARA was a major Block 25B upgrade for the F-16C/D Multinational Staged Improvement Program (MSIP).

The CARA was developed under an Air Force contract as a replacement for 13 different types of radar altimeters in the Air Force inventory. These 13 types of radar altimeters range in age from seven to 38 years and in the mean time between failures from 39 to 570 hours. The Army requirements for CARA were for fixed wing aircraft; the OV-lD Mohawk and the new JVX Joint Services Advanced Vertical Lift Aircraft for which the Army was the executive agency. The OV-lD requirement provides a replacement for the AN/APN-171A(V). The CARA requirement planned for 1,086 JVX aircraft was dictated by: the high altitude requirement. CARA provides radar altitude from 0 to 50,000 feet; JVX mission altitudes go to 30,000 feet. The standard Army altimeter, the AN/APN-209A(V) , optimized for helicopter usage has a range of 0-1,500 feet; the standard Navy altimeter, the AN/APN-194(V), has a range of 0-5,000 feet. -- .- MIL-STD-1553B Bus Compatibility. The CARA system being designed for the F-16 aircraft will have 1553B compatibility. Since the JVX will utilize a 1553B bus, the Army attempted to standardize on the CARA system, including the 1553B bus, Interface Adapter, being designed for the F-16,. Nuclear Hardening. The Army is coordinating the nuclear hardening requirements for CARA with the Air Force, in an attempt to standardize on requirements and also to fully satisfy the JVX requirements..

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